NFP and sexually transmitted diseases


#1

I was wondering - there are so many threads on NFP lately. What if a couple is married and has been told to use condoms b/c one or both members has a sexually transmitted disease? Whether the disease is generally transmitted through sexual contact, like herpes (which cannot be cured), or if it is transmitted through blood-to-blood contact with a risk through (even 'ordinary') sex.

Suppose someone has a condition that could be spread through sexual contact, and can't be cured, and this happens before they are married. What about contraceptives? Is it different if the person got an STD from sexual assault, or blood transfusion? (that can happen). What about after the marriage?

I'm wondering what the Church says about this b/c I've been told by my gyn that stds that require at least periodic use of condoms are a lot more common than many people think they are, and it's an issue in my family.


#2

STDs are also an issue in my family, and I remember a time when my mom decided to finally be honest with about what she had while she was pregnant with me. My fiancee (now husband) and I had to talk to the doctor and I had to undergo a panel of tests. Ugh.

I remember the conversations we had about all of the possibilities:

The church says condom use is an absolute no. Herpes was one of the diseases I was high-risk for. We did our homework while waiting for test results to come back - because of the periodic nature of the disease one only needs to abstain during infectious periods. That is - when “cold sores” are present.

The scarier blood-transmitted ones were also on the roster for me (I lost a lot of sleep over those…). My husband (well, fiancee at the time) agreed that we loved each other and were committed to one another so no matter what, we would be married. However, condoms are NEVER 100% guarnateed to protect, and I wasn’t going to take a chance on infecting the love of my life. We agreed we would live chastely, until something could be done.

Thankfully, after all this was solved, I found that I tested negative across the board. Talk about divine intervention! Especially a relief because both of us had saved ourselves for marriage, and it would have ruined my relationship with my mother if something HAD come up because she never told me before, and I got an STD because she messed around and I got it at birth.

I only tell you this so that when I say condoms are not acceptable in a catholic marriage, you know that I had to face that grisly possibility myself and I am not just spouting dogma. :slight_smile:

The truth is - condoms are not completely effective and there is NO WAY I could live with myself knowing that I gave my spouse a sexually transmitted disease. Even something as relatively harmless as HPV or Herpes. I faced this reality, and I just don’t know how anyone could take that risk with someone they love so much.


#3

I am not an apologist, but I'm fairly confident that in this situation, because the condom is used for medical purposes, not contraceptive purposes, the contraceptive side effect of the condom is permissible.

However, it should be noted that at least one of the diseases you're referring to (HPV) can easily be contracted even with condom use, as the infection is not specific to areas protected by a condom. I'm not sure what other diseases would require periodic condom use, but I'm sure your gynecologist can explain in more detail if you or your partner suffer from a sexually transmitted disease.


#4

[quote="Augusta_Sans, post:3, topic:229857"]
I am not an apologist, but I'm fairly confident that in this situation, because the condom is used for medical purposes, not contraceptive purposes, the contraceptive side effect of the condom is permissible.

However, it should be noted that at least one of the diseases you're referring to (HPV) can easily be contracted even with condom use, as the infection is not specific to areas protected by a condom. I'm not sure what other diseases would require periodic condom use, but I'm sure your gynecologist can explain in more detail if you or your partner suffer from a sexually transmitted disease.

[/quote]

I'm sorry, but you are wrong about this! The condom is NOT being used for medical purposes, it is being used to have sex while lowering the possibility of transmitting an STD. It is the couple's choice to have sex or not.

The only time that reasoning applies, is when a type of medicine is used for a specific health problem, and that same medicine also prevents conception.

If a couple of truly afraid of transmitting an STD, they must abstain. There's no way around it. Condoms cannot enter the picture at all.


#5

Alexander is right - contraceptives are only permissible when legitimately used to treat a disease, not to lower the chance of spreading one. Examples: hormonal treatments for various issues, cancer treatments, hysterectomy, etc. The “contraceptive” must be intended to help with the treatment or control of a legitimate existing condition. In this case only is the lessend chance of conception a regretable side effect.


#6

I'm glad you guys chimed in. We don't have STDs in our marriage so my answer was based on the understanding that ABC can be used to TREAT a disease. I didn't realize it couldn't be used to PREVENT a disease.

To the original poster, Michelle Arnold has a nicely worded answer in the Apologist forum:
Contraception in a marriage when one of the persons has AIDS


#7

Most medical advice on this matter is predicated on the ASSUMPTION that people ARE going to "do it" regardless of medical advice. Same assumption shapes today's debates on sex education in general.

The catholic position is unpolluted with such nonsense and looks at the issue objectively. Spousal love is supposed to be fundamentally about giving to one another. Given the "typical use" published failure rates for condoms for PREGNANCY avoidance (you can only get pregnant 3-6 days a month!), I would strongly question the level of self sacrificing love of any spouse with an STD who insists on his/her 'marital rights'. Over a lifetime together, it's actually quite likely that the STD WILL be transmitted. Might just as well play Russian Roulette as foreplay (presuming we're talking about a potentially fatal STD here).


#8

[quote="silentstar, post:1, topic:229857"]
I was wondering - there are so many threads on NFP lately. What if a couple is married and has been told to use condoms b/c one or both members has a sexually transmitted disease? Whether the disease is generally transmitted through sexual contact, like herpes (which cannot be cured), or if it is transmitted through blood-to-blood contact with a risk through (even 'ordinary') sex.

Suppose someone has a condition that could be spread through sexual contact, and can't be cured, and this happens before they are married. What about contraceptives? Is it different if the person got an STD from sexual assault, or blood transfusion? (that can happen). What about after the marriage?

I'm wondering what the Church says about this b/c I've been told by my gyn that stds that require at least periodic use of condoms are a lot more common than many people think they are, and it's an issue in my family.

[/quote]

In my opinion, it's completely fine to use a condom in that case. But that's just me.

In my opinion, it's no different how they contracted it. In my opinion, it doesn't matter when they use it before or after marriage.

In my opinion, the real problem would be passing on the STD to your partner if you weren't using protection. That would be way worse then "using a rubber". In my opinion, God wants us to be happy AND HEALTHY with our partners/spouses. If you give someone an STD you're neither happy nor healthy. :(


#9

[quote="Whitacre_Girl, post:2, topic:229857"]

Herpes was one of the diseases I was high-risk for. We did our homework while waiting for test results to come back - because of the periodic nature of the disease one only needs to abstain during infectious periods. That is - when "cold sores" are present.

[/quote]

Just a little FYI I'm not sure where you did your homework, but it IS possible to spread herpes even when there's no cold sores present. It's an extremely low risk, but it still does happen.

And congrats on testing negative! :)


#10

Sorry, guys, but condom use in this case is not okay.

I have HSV2.

It is my own fault that I have this disease, because I threw away my faith as a young adult. I now have to live with the consequence for the rest of my life. My spouse has accepted me, and believe it or not, she also has an STD that she will have to monitor for the rest of her life, though hers is not as problematic as mine.

When my immune system is fighting something, the skin sores tend to appear, then heal after a few days. During this time, I have accepted that I must abstain as penance for my past sins.

When I am older, my immune system will slow down, and eventually I will lose this battle. Everything we do has an eternal consequence. I am fortunate to find a wife willing to work with me, and after 8 years of marriage and having four kids, we have not passed our STDs to each other.

Our happiness is secondary to the will of God. Only when we accept that will we be truly happy.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

~Matthew 11:28-30~


#11

[quote="ahollars, post:10, topic:229857"]
Sorry, guys, but condom use in this case is not okay.

I have HSV2.

It is my own fault that I have this disease, because I threw away my faith as a young adult. I now have to live with the consequence for the rest of my life. My spouse has accepted me, and believe it or not, she also has an STD that she will have to monitor for the rest of her life, though hers is not as problematic as mine.

When my immune system is fighting something, the skin sores tend to appear, then heal after a few days. During this time, I have accepted that I must abstain as penance for my past sins.

When I am older, my immune system will slow down, and eventually I will lose this battle. Everything we do has an eternal consequence. I am fortunate to find a wife willing to work with me, and after 8 years of marriage and having four kids, we have not passed our STDs to each other.

Our happiness is secondary to the will of God. Only when we accept that will we be truly happy.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

~Matthew 11:28-30~

[/quote]

I'm really sorry that you have that STD. :( I'm sure it's hard for you. However,

"When I am older, my immune system will slow down, and eventually I will lose this battle."
I'm not exactly sure what you mean by that statement. But you don't die from herpes, nor do you stay in constant outbreak. Herpes, while annoying, is not fatal.


#12

[quote="Adam1986, post:8, topic:229857"]
In my opinion, it's completely fine to use a condom in that case. But that's just me.

In my opinion, it's no different how they contracted it. In my opinion, it doesn't matter when they use it before or after marriage.

In my opinion, the real problem would be passing on the STD to your partner if you weren't using protection. That would be way worse then "using a rubber". In my opinion, God wants us to be happy AND HEALTHY with our partners/spouses. If you give someone an STD you're neither happy nor healthy. :(

[/quote]

So what happens when one uses a condom and still contracts a STD or infects his partner?


#13

[quote="Adam1986, post:9, topic:229857"]
Just a little FYI I'm not sure where you did your homework, but it IS possible to spread herpes even when there's no cold sores present. It's an extremely low risk, but it still does happen.

And congrats on testing negative! :)

[/quote]

.> Uh, that tidbit came from 2 different physicians.

Yes, it is still possible, just like it's also possible to have a (as one doctor explained it) "terrorist decide to crash a plane into your car on your way to work."


#14

[quote="jilly4ski, post:12, topic:229857"]
So what happens when one uses a condom and still contracts a STD or infects his partner?

[/quote]

Well of course that's still sad, but at least that person can say they did everything in their power to try and prevent it.

Condoms are not full proof, but they do work very well.


#15

[quote="Whitacre_Girl, post:13, topic:229857"]

.> Uh, that tidbit came from 2 different physicians.

Yes, it is still possible, just like it's also possible to have a (as one doctor explained it) "terrorist decide to crash a plane into your car on your way to work."

[/quote]

Right, that's why I said "extremely low risk".


#16

[quote="Adam1986, post:14, topic:229857"]
Well of course that's still sad, *but at least that person can say they did everything in their power to try and prevent it. *

Condoms are not full proof, but they do work very well.

[/quote]

The thing is they CAN'T say that though. Doing everything in their power to prevent it would be ABSTINENCE, not having sex with a method that is only 90% effective at preventing transmission of STDs.


#17

[quote="Augusta_Sans, post:16, topic:229857"]
The thing is they CAN'T say that though. Doing everything in their power to prevent it would be ABSTINENCE, not having sex with a method that is only 90% effective at preventing transmission of STDs.

[/quote]

That's true I actually advocate 100% abstinence in cases of HIV/AIDS. I think it's one of the most selfish things you can do, to have sex when you're poz and your partner isn't. :(:mad:

However at least a condom is 90+% effective and it's the NEXT best thing you can do. :cool:


#18

[quote="Adam1986, post:17, topic:229857"]
That's true I actually advocate 100% abstinence in cases of HIV/AIDS. I think it's one of the most selfish things you can do, to have sex when you're poz and your partner isn't. :(:mad:

However at least a condom is 90+% effective and it's the NEXT best thing you can do. :cool:

[/quote]

But as Catholics we aren't called to always do "the next best thing" we're called to always do the BEST thing. :thumbsup:


#19

[quote="Whitacre_Girl, post:18, topic:229857"]
But as Catholics we aren't called to always do "the next best thing" we're called to always do the BEST thing. :thumbsup:

[/quote]

Agree with you about abstinence if we're talking about HIV/AIDS. But for Herpes I personally think the best thing is a condom. You can't really expect someone with Herpes to be abstinent for the rest of their lives. There's just no reason for that.


#20

[quote="Adam1986, post:19, topic:229857"]
Agree with you about abstinence if we're talking about HIV/AIDS. But for Herpes I personally think the best thing is a condom. You can't really expect someone with Herpes to be abstinent for the rest of their lives. There's just no reason for that.

[/quote]

Again, you don't have to be abstinent for the rest of your life - just during times when sores are present. Your chances of spreading the disease at these times are lower than using a condom during infectious times.

Besides, we're all Catholic here so we are loyal to the Church. The Church has said that condoms aren't acceptable in this case.


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